Sunday’s message at church focused on dispelling the myth that authority and freedom are mutually exclusive concepts. Naturally, I have a hard time believing these words, being deeply mistrusting of authority. However, somehow or another it clicked in my mind as I was rounding the Pentagon on my commute to work Monday morning. Without authority, where is freedom rooted and who is there to uphold it?
Authority and the roots of freedom
Without authority, my freedom is rooted in myself, something equal, or worse, something lesser. The freedom after which I strive, for which I fight, is only so great as the thing or person in which it’s rooted. If I am devoted to this freedom, then I am its bond servant. I am indebted to my freedom, to perpetuating it, thus I am indebted, in the absence of authority, to myself, something equal, or lesser. I am submitting myself to something which doesn’t deserve my making myself lower than it. It doesn’t deserve my servitude.
Authority, the upholder of freedom
Without an authority, I am slated to a life of slavery to perpetuating my freedom. It is me fighting for my freedom against anything or anyone that may impinge upon it. It is the life of a bitter, lonely warrior. Without authority, I am shackled to a self-imposed life of the mercenary, fighting always for freedom. No, without an authority to ensure my freedom, I can have no freedom on my own.
The authority of the Benevolent
It’s because God is both perfectly sovereign and perfectly benevolent, that we are free. It is His goodness and love that our freedom is rooted in. It is that goodness and love that we serve, that makes servitude joyful and supremely beneficial. It’s His perfect authority that eternally upholds our freedom against all adversaries. Our freedom is rooted and love, and secured in infinite power and might. This, friends, is true freedom.
Freedom without authority is no freedom at all. We need something greater in which to root our freedom, and God’s love is just that authority. We need something stronger to secure that freedom, and that authority is God’s absolute sovereignty. You see, there is no part of freedom that can be without God’s good, loving, and perfect authority. Coming from this skeptic, friends, God is convincing even the distrusting heart that freedom only exists in the presence of submission. So, let’s begin to recognize Him as the basis for the freedom we all so deeply desire.